For the first time since the Great Depression, the U.S. Census Bureau tells us, middle-class family incomes have lost ground for more than a decade. Something else has happened, too. The bottom has fallen out of America’s wage floor. And the erosion of the minimum wage has lowered pay and working standards for all of us. – Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, CNN 12/2/13
Fact Check: Trumka goes on to maintain that the current minimum wage of $7.25 an hour is not a living wage, and that it should be raised. Trumka indeed makes many good points about the growing problems of average Americans who live on paychecks. Nevertheless, it’s hard to take seriously his professed concern for working citizens.
This after all is the same Richard Trumka who has stridently endorsed the Senate’s amnesty/mass immigration bill. This proposed legislation which would give illegal aliens the legal right to take U.S. jobs, while encouraging more foreigners to come here illegally in search of employment. Also, it would sharply increase legal immigration and offer more temporary visas for foreign workers to take U.S. jobs.
More newcomers in the job market, of course, brings more competition for jobs—this at a time when 20 million Americans can’t find full-time employment—and it also means of depressed wages for everyone, as one can predict from the economic law of supply and demand.
There once was a time when labor leaders understood the negative impact of mass immigration on U.S. workers. One was Samuel Gompers, ironically the founder of the AFL. Gompers attacked corporate employers who pushed mass immigration because they preferred “a rapidly revolving labor supply at low wages to a regular supply of American wage earners at fair wages.”
The AFL founder, if he were here today, would be sad to see his movement embracing exactly what he denounced. Labor leaders now seem to favor immigration as a means getting more dues-paying members to contribute to their amble salaries. Trumka’s lack of genuine empathy for low-wage American workers may well stem from the fact that his salary in 2011 was $293,750.
Yes, nowadays, it seems that Big Labor is more interested in dues-payers than helping American workers. This was most evident when the AFL-CIO recently proposed to open its membership to non-workers in various left-wing organizations. Most significantly one of them was the National Council of La Raza (the Race), a Latino supremacist group which lobbies on behalf of illegal aliens.
The AFL-CIO and other unions seek more members wherever they can find them because union membership in the U.S. has sharply declined in recent years. Given what the labor movement offers American workers, it’s hardly suprising.